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Elderberry Immune Syrup

elderberry immune syrup recipe
Make your own Elderberry Immune Syrup!

To make your own Elderberry Immune Syrup:

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase items I have linked, I will receive a small compensation, but you don’t pay any more! Win-win!

Combine in a saucepan:

1/2 cup dried elderberries

2 cups water

2 Tbs Echinacea root, dried

2 Tbs Fresh Ginger, chopped

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer with lid off for 20 minutes to reduce to half. Strain.
You will have 1 cup liquid


2 cups Honey from flowers OR Vegetable Glycerin

If you will be using the syrup quickly, you may cut the sugar (honey or glycerin) by half. Otherwise, you need the 2 cups to preserve the syrup.

Optional add-ins:

Lemon essential oil–one drop–improves flavor

Orange essential oil–one drop–improves flavor

Vitamin C drops–to boost immune enhancing properties (I’ve never used, so I don’t have a brand to recommend)

Grapefruit seed extract–one drop per ounce of liquid (3 cups= 24 drops)–boosts immunity, kills germs, preserves, antiviral

Vitamin D drops–to boost immune enhancing properties

dosage elderberry immune syrup
How much do you take?


For Preventative Care: 1 T/day (Adults)

If sick: 1 T three times per day

For children, half or third the dose, depending on their size

I learned this recipe a few years ago when I attended a class on herbal healing by naturalist Lee Willard. I have no claims to the recipe, except that I wrote it down when he freely shared it. I have made it several times, and we have used it. We do find that it is effective.

I find that I prefer the version with the vegetable glycerin rather than the honey, because to me it is not as sweet. The honey is a bit much for me, but I am sensitive to sweets. My boys prefer the syrup when it has the flavorings.

For a lower-sugar option, Here is the Recipe I rewrote to make it easier! Low Sugar Elderberry Immune Syrup

If you or your kids don’t love the flavor, as it is a bit strong, you can add it to some applesauce, juice, water, or a smoothie.

A note about Essential Oils

I have used many different brands of essential oils for many different reasons. Sometimes I diffuse, use on the skin, rub on feet, or roll on. Rarely, do I use an essential oil internally, unless I know that it is safe. Safe for me would be free of pesticides, as when you concentrate the oil, the toxins would also concentrate.

So…if you will be using your essential oils internally, you want to ensure that you have a high-standard, high-quality oil. There are a few brands that carefully monitor and test their products and claim that they are safe to use internally. Several of those are multi-level companies, (DoTerra, Young Living, etc) which seem very good to me in their quality. However, I do resist the MLM framework and theory. Maybe I’m just too much of a non-conformist to join an essential oils club. Their products are very good though. That said, they aren’t the only companies providing excellent oils.

One of the companies that I linked products to (via amazon) is Rocky Mountain Oils. They produce very high-quality oils, and I have used several of theirs. I personally would not hesitate to use them, in small doses, internally. That is why I linked that particular brand.

However, there are many different brands of essential oils, and many are not quite so pricey. NOW is one that I have used over the years with no problem. I have not used them internally. You would need to make your own decision about that. But here is a nice little set of the citrus oils, for anyone who is curious about differently-priced essential oils. I’d say these are best for diffusing and external application.

True story

Resist the urge to reuse the seeds!

Last winter I made up a batch of elderberry tea. I just hated to toss out perfectly good leftover elderberry remains, so I saved them. I honestly don’t know exactly what happened, because I know people use elderberries whole and make pies, jam, and even wine.

Well…I threw mine (and they had been boiled) into a smoothie for myself. Thankfully, my boys all felt well, and they turned up their noses at my smoothie. So, just I ate it, and ate a lot, since I had a little cold. Oh. My. Goodness. That was a mistake, but it did taste good!

From bad to worse

I went to a meeting, that began with a light supper. Oddly, I did not feel hungry, and within just a few minutes, I kept exiting the meeting so that I could hover near the Ladies’ room. I kept waiting and waiting, but the retching that I felt would clear things out just did not come. Instead, I suffered miserably. Cold sweats, bad abdominal cramps, and the urge to vomit. I don’t remember feeling so awful for a very long, long time. I finally fled the meeting, barely drove myself home, planning to find some way to vomit. I will spare you the details, but I could not. I was in a weakened state by then, and although I badly needed to purge out the junk, I couldn’t make myself go through all the effort, so I went to bed.


I really do believe that I suffered from cyanide poisoning from the undercooked elderberries. This is not to discourage you from making this syrup, which is thoroughly cooked, but to make sure that you don’t skip steps, and that you just cook it well. I do not wish for anyone to experience what I went through, for it was a terrible experience.

The moral of the story is obviously to cook your berries well.

I hope I didn’t scare you off! The syrup is a good remedy!

For more tips and natural remedies to combat the common cold and the flu, please see my post on Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu Season.

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21 Replies

  1. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at this – will definitely make sure I cook it all the way, that doesn’t sound fun! Thanks for sharing on Homestead Blog Hop, we are featuring you this week! 🙂

  2. This is a great recipe to have on hand. Thanks for sharing!! I’m a fan of Rocky Mountain Oils too 🙂 I found you over at the Simple Life Mom blog hop!

  3. Oh boy, I have heard that undercooked berries are not good. I wonder if the seeds are bad in large quantities?

    I’m glad you survived! The immune syrup looks amazing! Thanks so much for sharing on Farm Fresh Tuesdays!

    1. I have heard that it’s best to strain the seeds. If you make jelly, you would. But if you make elderberry pie, you use the whole berry.

      I think the takeaway is: cook them well.

  4. Thanks for the recipe! I avoid those MLM companies as there’s always something wrong with their ethics or their products. I’ve heard about the Rocky Mtn brand you mentioned. Haven’t tried them yet. Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedLinkParty 125. Pinned.

What is your experience? 💜 I read every comment, and so many times I find that I gain encouragement from what’s shared. ❤️